Hi! Welcome back to Paws & Pens. I thought I might do something a little different this time, so instead of a poem, today’s installment will be a short story. I hope you enjoy! Here’s a brief synopsis: A sleep-deprived student in love attempts to finish her essay project last minute.
I rub my eyes again. The words on my laptop screen start to blur together and my entire face is aching just from trying to keep my eyes open.
My fingers fly across the keyboard, and the loud sounds of the keys fill the room. In the silence of the quiet night, the tapping noise is akin to two rocks slamming together. I still remembered earlier this evening, when I was working on my presentation for Business, before continuing to study for my Math summative tomorrow, and my phone chimed. The screen lit up with a notification and my mom had shouted at me for getting distracted. My friend had asked me if I’d finished my essay project yet.
I remember the confusion, and texting back asking what essay project? and it was a while before she replied explaining it was the essay project for English.
I’d frozen in that moment, my mind whirring too fast. I checked Managebac to find the task being a SUMMATIVE, and the requirements limitless. I could feel my heart rate going up and all I could remember thinking was how the heck I was supposed to explain that I died because of a severe heart rate thinking about an essay project due tomorrow.
Once I’d calmed down a bit, I managed to get my grip on things and start the project but by then it was 10 PM and I could already tell I wasn’t getting any sleep tonight.
So here I am, sitting at my desk-lamp-lit table, typing away into the infinite dimension. I yearned for my love, my darling, my precious, who is probably waiting for me right now. We had something planned for tonight, but I can’t make it yet. Not until I finish this damned essay.
I’d have liked to said my mind was clear and focused, my eyes were bright with determination, and moonlight poured in serenely through the window, but my mind was hazy with sleepiness, my eyes tired and squinting, and my tiny prison-like window didn’t face the moon. The words have started bleeding together by now. My eyes ache from staring at the tiny screen for so long.
In the corner of my eyes, I see the little number at the top of my screen flicker and change. It reads 00:34. I look back at my essay. Still a long way to go.
Hmmm… I wonder if anyone is still awake. I text all my friends and no one replies. I shrug and get up to splash water on my face.
Tiredness eats away at the back of my mind and I can feel my brain decaying, slowly, as it creeps towards the edge of insanity. Thanks, IB.
I get back to work until the clock turns to 2:03 AM and I get up to find some food. I rummage through the fridge and spot an open plastic container of cookie dough. I stick a spoon through it, put a bite into my mouth and almost cry out in joy. Finally, some sugar!
I look at the container with love in my eyes, a pounding in my heart and a faint thought that the pounding was from my arteries clogging up from the excess sugar and fat. It is apparently incredibly faint, because it disappears as soon as my second spoonful goes in.
Bringing the plastic container with me back up to my room, I sit down at my table and glare at my unfinished essay. It’s almost done, but I still need graphs, citations and my conclusion. I close my eyes, imagine my sweetheart and my bae before opening my eyes again.
Determined, I stuff another bite of cookie dough in and get back to work. I’m working energetically and enthusiastically on my citations before my bones start to feel heavy again. My face sinks and droops and I feel like I’ve aged a million years.
Oh no. Oh no no no no no no no. No, please not yet.
I look desperately at the plastic container that is now empty. I need more sugar before I fully crash! Maybe that cookie dough was a bad idea.
My mind spins and my fingers continue tapping away. I think of how my love would’ve supported me and encouraged me, while waiting for the two of us to be joined, and then a blurry thought enters my mind, hey, at least your fingers are getting a workout. I laugh half-heartedly at my pathetic joke until I am really laughing, as in bending-over-holding-your-stomach laughing, as in meme-worthy laughing and the sound echoes around the lonely room.
I curl up on the floor, tempted to go to sleep right there but the cookie dough in my stomach churns in protest. My sugar crash is severe and I can imagine breaking into chills right there and I think again about explaining how I got a cold fever because I had to much cookie dough.
There really are ways IB can truly, literally, in all senses, kill a person.
I brace myself and take a deep, shuddering breath. I am so close, I tell myself. Just a few more citations. Just. A. Few. More. I pull myself back up on my chair and pat myself on the back for achieving the simple but incredibly disciplined action.
My foggy mind clears a bit when I think of my darling for encouragement. To stay awake, I plug my headphones in and crank up the heavy metal music I use as white noise to keep myself clear-minded. Or as clear-minded as one can get at 2:54 AM.
I work for a few more minutes, occasionally banging my head on the table when the laptop lags or when the WiFi crashes, though not nearly as hard as I did into my bed when I finished.
The last thing I saw before sleep took me under was an open pair of arms, embracing me. I gaze at my pillow and mattress in love and adoration, and finally, I reunite with the beautiful love of my life.
“It’s been so long. A whole 24 hours without you was torturing. At last we are together.”
I cuddle into the throws and blankets and fall instantly asleep, happy and in love with my bed.